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Catching up with Karyn

The Legacy of Laughter: Creating Bonds that Last

In the New York Times today, Ellen Lupton has a column on how to lose a legacy.  Lupton examines our relationship with physical things: how keeping a set of dishes within a family for generations provokes feelings on continuity and connectedness – or, loosely paraphrased, how her non-hunting husband wound up with a doe’s head hanging proudly in their suburban living room.

These items can be wonderful, meaningful additions to our lives, Lupton asserts—but they can also be a burden. Storing, moving, and caring for the souvenirs of days gone by can be a challenge – as anyone who has ever tried to decorate for the holidays and move cross country in the same year can tell you!

Even if you want to retain every memento, from your children’s macaroni masterpiece through the dessert menu from the last time you went to Olive Garden, there’s always a risk of loss.  Natural disasters, housekeeping concerns, and plain old entropy are conspiring...

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A Crude Awakening: What The BP Oil Spill Teaches Us About Humor

There’s absolutely nothing funny about the BP oil spill.  No one would argue that – yet people are still laughing. (For example, see BP Spills Coffee)  If there’s one lesson we can take away from this entire tragedy, it’s that humor can fill numerous roles, some of which aren’t immediately obvious.

Humor Provides a Framework for Processing Tragedy

“The oil spill is getting bad,” David Letterman said, “There is so much oil and tar now in the Gulf of Mexico, Cubans can now walk to Miami.”  Confronted with an environmental disaster of unimaginable scope, we reach for ways to make sense of it all.  Letterman’s joke captured the scale of the spill in an unexpected way – weaving in some social commentary guaranteed to get a laugh from his audience -  deftly informing and assuring his audience that the situation was indeed that bad.

In a similar vein, we see the quips about BP’s new...

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Never Try To Teach A Pig To Singโ€ฆ

An experience that makes your customers ‘Feel Good’ is an experience that is going to bring those customers back to you.  More than that, “Feel Good” creates word of mouth: customers love to tell their friends, co-workers, and at least some of their relatives about the fantastic time they’ve had, so that their friends, colleagues, and family can enjoy the experience as well.

The problem is that not everyone wants your customers (or patients, if you’re in a health care setting!) to feel good.  In a book I’ve recently written with two of the smartest people I know (T. Scott Gross and Greg Ayers), we examined the three types of people you’ve probably got working for you, and how they feel about creating a “Feel Good” experience for your customers.

Never Teach a Pig to Sing…It Wastes Your Time and Irritates The Pig!

Not everyone is psychologically capable of extending “Feel Good” to perfect...

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Humor as a Cost-Effective Means of Stress Management

Humor as a Cost-Effective Means of Stress Management
Karyn Buxman, MSN, CSP, CPAE

(Originally published in Managing Employee Benefits , (1998).
Humor as a cost-effective means of stress management. Volume 6, Issue 2, pp. 74-78.)

U.S. workers consume 15 tons of aspirin a day. One in four workers suffers from an anxiety related illness. Soon job stress may be the #1 reason for worker’s compensation. “Terminal professionalism” seems to be a sign of the times. But taking oneself too seriously can have some unpleasant side effects.

Stress is the body’s response to any demand or pressure. These demands are called stressors. Stressors include major life events, such as death of a loved one or divorce. They entail chronic strains such as living in an abusive relationship. Stressors also consist of occasional strains, such as getting a flat tire in heavy traffic. (Source: Fact Sheet HE-2089, 11-91, Florida Cooperative Extension Service)


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Anxiety or Excitement?

Answer: Pink slip… Bonus….

Question: What’s the difference between anxiety and excitement?

Seriously, though, what is the difference between being anxious and excited?

When you think about it, the two are closely related, but they differ by a degree of perspective. What is your mindset? Are you envisioning the situation you’re thinking about coming out with a positive outcome or with a negative outcome?

We know from studies that a little stress, sometimes known as eustress, can be a good thing. A little stress causes us to be alert, to be ready, to have our “game on.” To have absolutely no stress results in you being the equivalent of a puddle of protoplasm on the floor—no energy, no movement, static—not dynamic. No matter how tempting it may sound, it’s not really good to have no stress in your life!

Too much stress, however, clouds our thinking, muddles our memory, causes us to make dumb mistakes—not to mention, it just...

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Tap Those Creative Juices!

“I’m brain dead,” my pal, Sheila, moaned over her coffee at our break. “I wouldn’t recognize a fresh idea if it jumped in my face and wiggled. I’m just not creative. Am I too left-brained? Where do you get all your ideas?”

What is creativity? Like humor, it’s a mindset, a process, a way of looking at things. Researchers once believed that creativity was found primarily in the right hemisphere of the brain; they believed “right-brained” people were more creative. Now researchers speculate that creativity involves both hemispheres, that it’s a combination of both analytic and intuitive thought.

Are you a creative person? Why is it that as children we’re able to tap into our natural creative abilities only to be stymied later as adults? Perhaps it’s because we’re taught early on to be logical, to look for the one right answer, and to be serious.

As we grow older, our creative tendencies are...

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Press Release: 10 Tips for Finding Humor in Turbulent Times

I, along with members of The Association for Applied and Therapeutic Humor, put together a list of fun-filled ideas to help you rise above the current economic turmoil.

It is my gift to you.  Happy Holidays!
10 Tips for Finding Humor in Turbulent Times                                                    

The economy is on its wildest ride in decades.  The line waiting for a government bail-out is almost as long as the line waiting to check-out in stores this holiday shopping season.  And, you’re simply at wits end in trying to deal with it all!

Fear not – there’s humor to be found amidst all of this chaos and confusion.  So says Karyn Buxman, Publisher of The Journal of Nursing...

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On Tour at Cancer Treatment Centers of America

I absolutely love being self-employed. I’ve been my own boss for almost twenty years now. But if I were ever going to punch a clock for someone else ever again, I think I found where I would want to work: Cancer Treatment Centers of America. I had the opportunity to visit their facility outside of Chicago last week—they knocked my socks off!

When you arrive at CTCA you are greeted by a couple of valet attendants, who for no fee (won’t even accept a tip) park your car for you and escort you inside. When you enter, immediately you begin to feel the warm energy emanating from this place. On the wall to your left, a brass tree with leaves baring the names of patients who have celebrated at least 5 years of life since arriving. You then pass a large aquarium with beautiful fish on your left and a beautiful atrium with plants and soothing music to your right. A friendly person at the reception desk greets you and quickly determines how to best suit your needs.


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When Funny Means Money: Sales

I know what some of you left brain logical people are thinking. Humor: It’s cute. It’s entertaining. But it’s just not practical.

Hey, you don’t have to take my word for it. You can ask the people at American Express or Jell-O. These companies understand that while people use logic to justify their buying decisions, emotion is what sells. And one of the quickest connections to emotion is humor.

Whey else would American Express spend millions of dollars to feature Jerry Seinfeld in their ads? (He now also has a $10 million deal from Microsoft!)

Why would Capitol One present David Spade in their commercials?

Why would Jell-O hire Bill Cosby as their spokesperson?

These companies understand that humor fosters connection, and that this connection, in turn, affects people’s buying decisions.gitomer When Funny Means Money: Sales

My buddy and Sales Guru, Jeffrey Gitomer, author of The Little Red Book of Selling (and dozens of other books!) says that humor...

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Ha! 5 Ways Laughter Makes You Healthy

“I died laughing!” my friend told me, recounting her evening at the comedy club the night before. She described how she laughed until her sides ached and mascara ran down her face.

Wow—a pretty scary picture. And yet people don’t really die laughing—quite the opposite. Laughter is one of the healthiest tools we have.

Remember when you were a child and everything was oh-so-funny? When the silliest of remarks would send you and your friends into gales of laughter? When did that stop? What does it take now to make you pause long enough in your busy life to process humor?

Do you laugh much, or have you noticed a distinct lack of laughter in your life lately? If you are not laughing, you are failing to take advantage of one of the healthiest natural activities available. So in between all the busy-ness with which your days are filled, take some time to laugh – and you may just find yourself healthier in the process. Here are five ways that laughter can...

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